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Wide Receiver Target Variances - Week 5 Report


Your wide receivers remain essential components toward accomplishing your unwavering goal of securing a league championship. As the season unfolds, it is crucial for you to utilize the tools that you have available, in order to maintain an extensive level of knowledge regarding the number of opportunities that are being provided to your wide receivers - both in terms of their snap counts and how often they are being targeted by their quarterbacks.

Each week, this article will examine these specific categories, along with any other noteworthy changes in usage that signal an increase or regression in opportunity. This will bolster your efforts to determine which wide receivers should be in your lineups, and which are worthy of remaining on your rosters. Pro Football Reference and NFL Savant were used to obtain all target and red zone target totals, while snap count information was assembled with information from Football Outsiders.

We now are in possession of data from five weeks of game action that will provide the basis for comparison of snap counts and targets for each receiver. This will include the most likely candidates to experience a rise or decline in those numbers during the upcoming weeks. Here is a breakdown of the most compelling changes in usage and opportunity from Week 5.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Overall Targets

Wide Receiver Week 1 Targets  Week 2 Targets Week 3 Targets Week 4 Targets  Week 5 Targets Total Targets
Adam Thielen 12 13 19 12 10 66
Antonio Brown 16 17 9 11 13 66
Odell Beckham Jr. 15 9 10 11 14 59
Jarvis Landry 15 7 15 10 10 57
DeAndre Hopkins 11 11 10 12 13 57
Julio Jones 19 9 6 12 9 55
Stefon Diggs 6 13 10 15 11 55
Davante Adams 8 12 9 14 12 55
Juju Smith-Schuster 8 19 11 11 4 53
Golden Tate 15 13 8 8 7 51
Michael Thomas 17 13 10 4 5 49
Michael Crabtree 6 10 10 8 12 46
Corey Davis 13 7 4 15 6 45
Keenan Allen 11 8 7 10 9 45
John Brown 4 10 9 7 14 44
Emmanuel Sanders 11 4 8 7 14 44
Nelson Agholor 10 12 5 12 4 43
Tyler Boyd 5 9 7 15 7 43
A.J. Green 8 9 8 8 10 43
Quincy Enunwa 10 11 8 8 5 42
Robert Woods 9 9 11 5 7 41
Kenny Golladay 12 9 7 4 9 41
Cooper Kupp 9 6 6 11 9 41
Mike Evans 7 12 11 9 BYE 39
Demaryius Thomas 10 11 5 7 6 39
Tyreek Hill 8 6 5 13 7 39
T.Y. Hilton 11 11 10 6 INJ 38
Donte Moncrief 5 9 3 5 15 37
Sterling Shepard 7 5 7 10 7 36
Keelan Cole 4 8 9 3 10 34
Brandin Cooks 9 6 6 11 0 33
Marvin Jones 8 9 6 6 4 33
Dede Westbrook 6 5 4 13 5 33
Chester Rogers 3 4 4 11 11 33
Willie Snead 6 8 5 7 7 33
Mohamed Sanu 6 2 7 9 7 33
Pierre Garcon 6 4 4 7 12 33
Allen Robinson 7 14 7 4 0 32
Amari Cooper 3 10 5 12 1 31
Ryan Grant 9 2 4 7 9 31

Adam Thielen and Antonio Brown are tied for the league lead in overall targets, as both receivers have collected 66 through five weeks of the regular season. Odell Beckham Jr. is third overall with 59, while Jarvis Landry (57), and DeAndre Hopkins (57) finalize the top five. Julio Jones (55), Stefon Diggs (55), Davante Adams (55), Juju Smith-Schuster (53) and Golden Tate (51) are also among the 10 players that have captured at least 50 targets, while 13 additional receivers have been the recipients of 40+.

After five weeks, Thielen and Brown are the only receivers who have attained double-digit target totals in every contest. However, 12 other receivers joined them in capturing at least 10 in Week 5. Jacksonville teammates Donte Moncrief and Keelan Cole joined A.J. Green as the only players in this grouping that had not reached double-digits during any of their four previous games.

Moncrief accumulated the highest number of targets for the week (15), while Beckham was second with 14. That tied him with John Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, while Antonio Brown and Hopkins garnered 13 targets, with Adams, Michael Crabtree, and Pierre Garcon all accruing 12.

T.Y. Hilton maintained a spot among the league leaders (38) despite being sidelined due to his hamstring issue in Week 5. While he was reduced to spectator status, teammate Ryan Grant’s nine targets matched his season high (9/2/4/7/9), while Chester Rogers matched his Week 4 season best (11), after receiving just 10 total targets from Weeks 1-3 (3/3/4/11/11). However, Rogers also had several unsightly drops that prohibited him from generating better numbers, while undoubtedly hurting his team.

Even though Antonio Callaway's five targets were the fewest since Week 2, he leads all rookie receivers with 29 for the season. Courtland Sutton (26) and Calvin Ridley (26) are next, followed by Keke Coutee (22) - who has received all of his targets in the past two weeks.

 

Greatest Variances

Wide Receiver Week 1 Targets  Week 2 Targets Week 3 Targets Week 4 Targets  Week 5 Targets  Target Variance
Donte Moncrief 5 9 3 5 15 10
John Brown 4 10 9 7 14 7
Keelan Cole 4 8 9 3 10 7
Emmanuel Sanders 11 4 8 7 14 7
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 0 1 0 3 10 7
Pierre Garcon 6 4 4 7 12 5
Kenny Golladay 12 9 7 4 9 5
Michael Crabtree 6 10 10 8 12 4
Jamison Crowder 4 4 4 0 8 4
Odell Beckham Jr. 15 9 10 11 14 3
Sterling Shepard 7 5 7 10 7 -3
Zach Pascal 1 0 2 10 7 -3
Julio Jones 19 9 6 12 9 -3
Sterling Shepard 7 5 7 10 7 -3
Quincy Enunwa 10 11 8 8 5 -3
Stefon Diggs 6 13 10 15 11 -4
Taywan Taylor 0 4 5 9 5 -4
Antonio Callaway 1 4 10 9 5 -4
Tyreek Hill 8 6 5 13 7 -6
Doug Baldwin INJ INJ INJ 7 1 -6
JuJu Smith-Schuster 8 19 11 11 4 -7
Dede Westbrook 6 5 4 13 5 -8
Tyler Boyd 5 9 7 15 7 -8
Nelson Agholor 10 12 5 12 4 -8
Corey Davis 13 7 4 15 6 -9
Amari Cooper 3 10 5 12 1 -11

This week's variances will focus on the target differentials between Weeks 4-5, and will begin with Donte Moncrief, who was the recipient of this week’s largest increase. His 15 targets were 10 more than he received in Week 4, while also total representing a significant rise from his average in Weeks 1-4 (5.5). His surge also perpetuated an ongoing situation that involves Jacksonville’s trio of primary receiving options - Cole, Moncrief, and Dede Westbrook - in which their weekly targets totals have undertaken mammoth statistical swings. We have already observed sizable changes in their opportunities from week to week, which will be discussed further in the 5 Things I Noticed section.

Amari Cooper’s streak of inclusion among the week’s largest target variances remains intact, as his lone Week 1 target represented the week’s most precipitous drop (-11). To this point, Cooper’s wildly fluctuating totals have resulted in alternating increases and declines (3/10/5/12/1) that present a poor reflection on the fourth-year receiver, along with his quarterback (Derek Carr), and the team’s offensive philosophy

The uneven week-to-week emotions also continue for Corey Davis owners, as his highly productive Week 4 numbers (15 targets/9 receptions/161 yards), degenerated to just six targets, four receptions, and 49 yards. He has now been allotted at least 13 targets in two contests while averaging 5.6 in the remaining three games. But even though his decline (-9) was the second largest for the week, his deflated total still led the Titans on a day in which Marcus Mariota launched just 26 passes. Davis will remain Mariota's primary option, even as owners will contend with inconsistencies with his level of opportunity.

Nelson Agholor and Tyler Boyd received eight fewer targets in Week 5, although Boyd's total (7) was largely a byproduct of the favorable number that he attained in Week 4 (15). The results were less encouraging for Agholor, who received a season-low four in Week 5. Westbrook’s total also decreased by eight, which stands in direct contrast to Week 4, when he had the second highest increase of the week. This is the result of his erratic totals for the past three weeks, and once again underscores the inconsistent usage of Jacksonville’s wide receivers that will be addressed shortly. Smith-Schuster had averaged 13.6 targets per game from Weeks 2-4, before he was allotted just four in Week 5, while Doug Baldwin’s total plunged significantly during his second game of the season (7/1).

 

Red Zone Targets 

Wide Receiver  Week 1 Red Zone Targets Week 2 Red Zone Targets Week 3 Red Zone Targets Week 4 Red  Zone Targets Week 5 Red  Zone Targets Total Red Zone Targets Red Zone Target Variance
JuJu Smith-Schuster 0 8 2 3 2 15 -1
Michael Thomas 3 4 2 2 1 12 -1
Cooper Kupp 3 3 1 3 1 11 0
A.J. Green 1 2 3 3 2 11 -1
Davante Adams 2 3 2 1 2 10 1
DeAndre Hopkins 2 0 2 2 3 9 1
Antonio Brown 2 2 0 1 4 9 3
Marvin Jones 2 3 1 1 1 8 0
Brandin Cooks 1 2 2 2 0 7 -2
Jarvis Landry 1 0 3 2 1 7 -1
Quincy Enunwa 3 1 0 2 1 7 -1
Adam Thielen 0 1 1 3 2 7 -1
T.Y. Hilton 3 1 2 0 0 6 0
Chris Godwin 1 1 4 0 0 6 0
Corey Davis 3 0 1 2 0 6 -2
Nelson Agholor 0 3 1 2 0 6 -2
Sterling Shepard 0 1 2 3 0 6 -3
Odell Beckham Jr. 2 1 0 1 2 6 1
Sammy Watkins 1 0 2 1 2 6 1
Robert Woods 2 0 3 0 0 5 0
Allen Robinson 1 0 3 1 0 5 0
Keenan Allen 1 2 1 1 0 5 -1
Phillip Dorsett 2 2 0 1 0 5 -1
Calvin Ridley 0 1 2 2 0 5 -2
Taylor Gabriel 1 2 0 2 0 5 0
Tyler Boyd 0 1 1 3 0 5 -3
John Brown 2 1 0 0 2 5 2
Michael Crabtree 1 0 0 1 3 5 2
Jordy Nelson 1 0 1 2 1 5 -1
Donte Moncrief 0 2 0 0 3 5 3
Tyreek Hill 1 0 0 2 1 5 -1
Kenny Golladay 1 0 2 0 2 5 2
Tyreek Hill 1 0 0 2 1 5 -1
Devin Funchess 0 3 1 0 0 4 0
Demaryius Thomas 1 3 0 0 0 4 0
Emmanuel Sanders 0 0 0 0 0 4 4
Amari Cooper 0 0 0 4 0 4 -4
Ted Ginn 1 0 1 2 0 4 -2
Courtland Sutton 0 0 0 0 4 4 4
Alshon Jeffery 0 0 0 2 2 4 0
John Ross 1 2 1 0 0 4 0
Stefon Diggs 0 1 0 1 2 4 1

Smith-Schuster continues to lead all receivers with fifteen red zone targets, although his season-long total was built largely on the whopping eight that he received in Week 2. The sizable number of passes that were earmarked for Smith-Schuster in that particular contest also remain significant because no other receiver has been allotted more than four at any other point of the season.

Thomas is second overall with 12 on the strength of receiving double-digit opportunities in four consecutive weeks (Weeks 1-4). Green and Cooper Kupp are next with 11, while Adams (10) completes the top five. Hopkins and Brown have both garnered nine, while Marvin Jones' total of eight has been built primarily with the five that he attained in Weeks 1-2. Four different receivers have collected seven (Thielen/Landry/Cooks/Quincy Enunwa), while seven other have accumulated six (Beckham/Davis/Agholor/ Hilton/Sterling Shepard/Sammy Watkins/Chris Godwin.

Brown, Sanders and Courtland Sutton led all receivers with four red zone targets in Week 5, followed by Hopkins, Moncrief and Michael Crabtree with three. Hopkins also paces all receivers with eight targets inside the 10, followed by Thomas and Kupp (7), then Marvin Jones and Godwin (6) - even though Godwin has not collected a red zone opportunity since Week 3.

 

Greatest Variances

The most intriguing variance occurred when Denver faced the Jets, as neither Sanders or Sutton had received any red zone targets during the Broncos’ first four games, but both receivers collected four during the team's Week 5 matchup. The sudden escalation in opportunity for both players coincides with a massive decline for Demaryius Thomas, who failed to receive any red zone targets for a third consecutive week. Thomas' season total was built completely in Weeks 1-2 (1/3), and this trend should become highly concerning for his owners. Particularly considering the ascension in targets for his teammates.

The continuing disparity in week-to-week targets for Amari Cooper was discussed previously, and it also negatively impacted his red zone results in Week 5. In the aftermath of his four targets in Week 4, Cooper did not receive any opportunities, which registered the largest decline among all receivers (-4). Tyler Boyd and Sterling Shepard also experienced notable regression (-3), although their targets and production are easier to forecast moving forward.

Five of Sammy Watkins' six targets have been accumulated since Week 3, including the two that he collected during his last game (2/1/2). Davis failed to receive a red zone target for just the second time this season, but teammate Taywan Taylor captured two, and has now accumulated three in Tennessee's past two contests.

 

Snap Counts  

Wide Receiver Week 1 Snap Count Week 2 Snap Count Week 3 Snap Counts Week 4 Snap Counts  Week 5 Snap Counts  Total Snaps Snap Count % Variance
DeAndre Hopkins 73/99% 67/100% 68/100% 86/100% 80/100% 374/100% 0
Jarvis Landry 81/91% 59/95% 66/86% 72/89% 80/100% 358/92% 11%
Davante Adams 59/98% 75/97% 75/99% 76/100% 71/88% 349/96% -12%
Nelson Agholor 68/94% 72/91% 80/98% 72/92% 52/88% 344/93% -4%
Antonio Brown 83/99% 77/94% 62/94% 59/95% 57/93% 338/95% -2%
Adam Thielen 68/96% 70/96% 66/100% 73/99% 60/97% 337/97% -2%
Robert Woods 61/97% 70/97% 74/96% 55/100% 66/100% 326/98% 0
Marvin Jones 62/89% 77/100% 67/92% 50/93% 58/94% 314/94% 1%
Amari Cooper 69/93% 54/83% 60/79% 80/87% 51/96% 314/87% 9%
Michael Thomas 61/95% 58/88% 75/95% 66/94% 51/77% 311/90% -17%
Jordy Nelson 72/97% 54/83% 55/72% 80/87% 47/89% 308/86% 2%
Emmanuel Sanders 64/86% 54/82% 60/88% 54/90% 73/95% 305/88% 5%
Odell Beckham Jr. 68/96% 66/97% 59/95% 59/95% 52/93% 304/95% 0
Chris Hogan 68/91% 55/90% 48/100% 70/86% 63/91% 304/91% 5%
JuJu Smith-Schuster 63/75% 76/93% 55/83% 60/97% 50/82% 304/86% -15%
Kenny Golladay 65/93% 71/92% 65/88% 53/98% 49/79% 302/90% -19%
Sterling Shepard 61/86% 65/96% 59/95% 59/95% 56/100% 300/94% 5%
Ryan Grant 65/79% 43/70% 50/85% 72/79% 68/82% 298/79% 3%
Michael Crabtree 53/66% 73/86% 52/72% 48/63% 72/83% 298/75% 20%
Cooper Kupp 61/97% 72/100% 75/97% 53/96% 36/55% 297/89% -41%
Stefon Diggs 61/86% 62/85% 57/86% 62/85% 53/85% 296/85% 0
Tyreek Hill 40/71% 51/88% 68/91% 70/90% 64/91% 293/87% 1
Keelan Cole 47/75% 59/83% 53/93% 60/78% 74/89% 293/84% 11%
Tyler Lockett 56/98% 60/91% 61/88% 62/94% 52/87% 291/92% -7%
Brandin Cooks 61/97% 72/100% 74/96% 52/95% 28/42% 287/86% -55%
Mohamed Sanu 56/80% 48/76% 59/87% 55/79% 59/82% 277/81% 3%
A.J. Green 53/95% 69/91% 33/51% 69/95% 51/95% 275/83% 0
John Brown 48/60% 68/80% 55/76% 44/58% 59/68% 274/69% 10%
Corey Davis 63/91% 48/81% 52/84% 60/85% 49/91% 272/86% 6%
Keenan Allen 72/88% 51/89% 40/77% 57/84% 49/77% 268/83% -7%
Golden Tate 57/81% 65/84% 54/74% 42/78% 48/77% 266/79% -1%
Phillip Dorsett 57/76% 55/90% 45/94% 57/70% 42/61% 256/78% -9%
Allen Robinson 67/96% 63/95% 69/93% 53/87% BYE 252/93% BYE
Chester Rogers 47/57% 26/43% 40/68% 73/80% 64/77% 250/65% -3%
T.Y. Hilton 80/98% 55/90% 59/100% 43/47% DNP 237/81% DNP
Taylor Gabriel 60/86% 63/95% 55/74% 48/79% BYE 226/83% BYE
Tyler Boyd 49/68% 58/76% 51/78% 62/85% 45/75% 220/82% -10%
Demaryius Thomas 53/72% 59/89% 54/79% 51/85% 47/61% 217/81% -24%

Hopkins, Landry, Woods, and Shepard all performed on 100% of their teams' offensive snaps in Week 5, while Thielen (97%), Will Fuller (97%) and Cooper (96%) nearly matched that achievement. Sanders was next with 95%, as was rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling in his most extensive involvement of the season. Nine other receivers played on 90% of their snaps, including Albert Wilson, who was the most surprising player on that list.

Hopkins (374), Landry (358), Adams (349), Agholor (344), and Brown (338) comprise the top five in snaps for the season, followed by Thielen (337), Woods (326), Marvin Jones (314), Cooper (314) and Thomas (311). Owners of Agholor and Cooper would undoubtedly trade fantasy points for snaps, as those players' season-long output resides far below the other eight receivers who are currently within the top 10. Similarly, anyone who drafted Chris Hogan (11 receptions/143 yards) can only cringe at his anemic output, which has transpired despite a snap total (304) that ties him with Beckham, and Smith-Schuster.

Julian Edelman performed on 45/68% snaps during his season debut, while Phillip Dorsett's count experienced the most significant decline during the Patriots' Week 5 matchup with Indianapolis. He had been averaging 53.5/81%, but established new season lows (42/61%) against his former team. Hogan's count (63/91%) perfectly matched his season-long totals, while Josh Gordon was allotted exactly 18 snaps for the second consecutive week.

 

Greatest Variances

Even though Crabtree owners would prefer that he dramatically improve upon his 50 YPG average, his surge in targets (+4) and snaps (+20%) should deliver some rationale for optimism. After playing on 71% of Kansas City's offensive snaps in Week 1, Hill's numbers in Weeks 2-5 have elevated him into the top 25 for the season (88%/91%/90%/91%). While Julio Jones and newcomer Ridley have consistently elicited more discussion, teammate Mohamed Sanu's counts have been both favorable and steady, as his weekly percentages have remained between 76%-82%. Also, Wilson deserves another mention, as his usage (55%/48%/23% /76%/91%) has risen significantly in Weeks 4-5.

The greatest declines were experienced by Kupp and Cooks, although that was a consequence of both Ram receivers being sidelined during portions of their Week 5 matchup in Seattle. The -17% regression for Thomas was primarily a byproduct of game script, during a contest in which Drew Brees launched a season-low 29 passes.

There were several players that are not among the league leaders but nevertheless are worth mentioning. Marquez Valdes-Scantling's ascending usage has been steady, as his increasing percentage (3%/8%/17%71%/95%) has also translated to a favorable number of opportunities - albeit partially due to injuries that have sidelined Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison. Still, it would appear that Valdes-Scantling has capitalized sufficiently to continue functioning within the mix of Aaron Rodgers receiving weaponry.

 

Five Things I Noticed

1. Even though Smith-Schuster has amassed three more red zone targets than any other receiver (15), he has only collected eight of those passes, while Thomas has caught a league-best 10 of his 12 targets. Adams and Calvin Ridley pace all receivers with four touchdowns from their red zone targets, while Thomas, Kupp, Green, Jordy Nelson, and Godwin have all scored three times. Smith-Schuster is among an assemblage of 13 receivers that have produced two red zone touchdowns.

2. Hopkins leads all wide receivers with eight targets inside the 10 and is followed by Thomas and Kupp with seven. Jones and Godwin are next with six, while Green Landry, Davis, and Kenny Golladay have obtained five.
Thomas leads with six receptions inside the 10, followed by Kupp (4) then Hopkins, Godwin, Taylor Gabriel and Shepard (3). Thomas and Godwin also pace all receivers with three touchdowns on targets inside the 10.

3. The radically changing target totals for Jacksonville's trio of receivers (Cole/Westbrook/Moncrief) appear destined to vacillate considerably throughout the season. Moncrief's total expanded by 10, which was the largest increase in Week 5, while his 15 targets were the most by any receiver during the week. But his numbers for the past four weeks remain largely unpredictable. This is also the case for Westbrook, whose target totals for the past three weeks include the second highest increase in Week 4, followed by the third largest drop in Week 5. Cole’s results since Week 3 match the irregular totals of Moncrief and Westbrook, and their specific totals for the past three weeks are listed below. This should accentuate the point that owners should remain braced for rampant inconsistencies throughout the year.

  • Moncrief (9/3/5/15)
  • Cole (9/3/10)
  • Westbrook (4/13/5)

4, Alshon Jeffery owners are in the process of being rewarded for their patience, as his level of involvement in Philadelphia's offensive strategy has been massive. Since re-emerging from the shoulder issue that sidelined him from Weeks 1-3, Jeffery has captured 17 targets in the two games since his return, garnered a pair of red zone targets in each contest, and performed on 93% of Philadelphia's offensive snaps in Week 5. If he continues his current statistical pace, he will eventually surface among the league leaders in each category.

5. Several weeks ago I recommended dropping Robby Anderson to anyone who was contending with roster issues But his 123-yard/2 touchdown performance in Week 5 easily surpassed his production from Weeks 1-4 (27 YPG/1 touchdown). While his statistical explosion will be an enticement to add him, or re-insert him into starting lineups, it should be noted that he collected just five targets against the Broncos when he generated those results. Quincy Enunwa also received five targets, and even though Andersen’s talent level is unquestioned, expectations should not be excessive moving forward.

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